Jack Willis says England return helped him overcome ‘mental hurdles’ after his horror knee injury
England flanker Jack Willis says his return to Twickenham helped him overcome ‘mental hurdles’ after a horror knee injury last year – as he pursues victory on Australia’s summer tour
- Jack Willis put his Twickenham hoodoo to bed on his return to England last Sunday
- He was sidelined for a year after a knee injury against Italy
- Now the flanker hopes to help Eddie Jones’ side to a series win in Australia
Jack Willis has admitted to overcoming ‘mental hurdles’ when he put his Twickenham hoodoo to bed on his return to England against the Barbarians last Sunday.
Now the Wasps winger hopes to continue his return to fitness by helping Eddie Jones’ side to a series win in Australia this summer.
In February 2021, Willis suffered a catastrophic knee injury at Twickenham when he came off the bench in a Six Nations game against Italy. He was sidelined for a year.
England flanker Jack Willis has completed a remarkable recovery from a horror knee injury
He played for England for the first time at the same venue since that Azzurri clash in the Barbarians game.
“I overcame another couple of mental hurdles that came off the bench at Twickenham,” Willis said. “I think I probably had those real battles a long time ago, but there were a few memories.
“I woke up thinking about the scenario unfolding, getting off the couch, and thinking, ‘Oh, that’s how it unfolded last time’.
“I feel like I’ve come a long way in the past few years. There have certainly been some lows, but I’ve had that burning desire to put that England shirt back on.
“It makes me feel like I’m getting better every day and it pushes me to the limit. It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little boy.’
The 25-year-old was sidelined for a year after a knee injury against Italy
England’s warm-up before a crunch three-Test tour of Australia ended in a humiliating fashion when Jones’ side awarded 50 points to a 14-man Barbarians team. As the preparations go, it was far from ideal.
“The good thing is there are some big lessons for the tour to Australia,” Willis said of the 52-21 loss.
“We weren’t good enough at the outage. The distribution must improve. If we want to play attacking the way we want, we need to be more clinical about that.
“Whoever is selected for Australia must put their best foot forward to repeat what happened in 2016 (when England won the series 3-0).”
Willis suffered a catastrophic knee injury against Italy at Twickenham in February 2021
Meanwhile, Leicester’s title-winning center Matias Moroni has signed for Newcastle after confirming his departure from the Tigers in the wake of the Twickenham final.
Argentina international Moroni revealed he didn’t want to side with Steve Borthwick but had no choice but to do so.
“I am grateful to everyone at Tigers and I will only take fond memories of my time there,” said Moroni.
“Although I wanted to stay, I have to go. It came as a shock, but I couldn’t control it anymore.’